Two of South Africa’s most entertaining sides face off in a rare Sunday fixture when the Lions play host to the Kings in Johannesburg.
These sides met earlier this year with the Lions claiming a comfortable 42-19 victory in Port Elizabeth in Round 5. However, the Kings have come on in leaps and bounds since then and although they will be playing away from home, the Lions will not be underestimating their opponents.
Since the announcement last month that two South African teams will be axed from the tournament, the Kings have delivered several inspirational performances and based on this year’s performances they are no longer the weakest team in South Africa.
However, they take on a Lions side who are brimming with confidence after notching a half century of points in a one sided win over the Bulls last weekend.
The Lions have won nine games on the bounce – the last and only time any South African team has won more games in succession was a 12-match winning streak for the Bulls across the 2009 and 2010 campaigns.
Johan Ackermann’s charges have won each of the previous three encounters between these teams, scoring an average of 48 points per match across that span.
Although the Lions have several brilliant attacking players who have caught the eye this year, one of their unsung heroes is second-row Franco Mostert who has led the charge at the coalface of their forward effort.
Mostert has been particularly impressive in the lineouts and he has already stolen 12 balls in that facet of play so far this campaign, twice as many as any other player in the competition.
The Kings are yet to win their first away game against South African opposition, having lost each of their nine such games by an average margin of 26 points.
The men from Port Elizabeth have won 9.4 turnovers per game so far this campaign, the most of any team in the competition and more than two per game more than the Lions (7.3).
The last time the teams met: The Lions were too strong for their hosts in Port Elizabeth in Round 5, claiming a 42-19 win. The Lions domianted for large periods and led 35-12 at half-time. The visitors eventually outscored the Kings by six tries to three with Madosh Tambwe leading the way with a brace. Malcolm Marx, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Kriel and Harold Vorster also crossed the whitewash for the Lions and Malcolm Jaer, Andisa Ntsila and Yaw Penxe scored the Kings tries.
2017: Lions won 42-19 in Port Elizabeth
2016: Lions won 57-21 in Johannesburg
2016: Lions won 45-10 in Port Elizabeth
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Johannes Jonker, 18, Corne Fourie, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Anthony Volmink/Sylvian Mahuza
Kings: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Alshaun Bock, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tyler Paul, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys (c), 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Mzamo Majola, 19 Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, 23 Stokkies Hanekom
Date: Sunday, May 28
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 14:30 local time (12.30 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Ben Crouse (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)